Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival (simplified Chinese: 春节; traditional Chinese: 春節; pinyin: Chūn Jié) in modern China, and one of the Lunar New Years in Asia, is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. Celebrations traditionally run from the evening preceding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. The first day of the New Year falls on the new moon between 21 Jan and 20 Feb. In 2018, the first day of the Lunar New Year is on Friday, 16 February, initiating the year of the Dog.
It is one of the world’s most prominent and celebrated festivals, with the largest annual mass human migration in the world. It is a major holiday in China and has had strong influence on the lunar new year celebrations of its geographic neighbours, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mauritius, Australia, and the Philippines.
The New Year festival is centuries old and associated with several myths and customs. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Lunar New Year vary widely. Often, the evening preceding Lunar New Year’s Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly clean the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck. Windows and doors are decorated with red colour paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes. In about one third of the Mainland population, or 500 million Northerners, dumplings (especially those of vegetarian fillings) feature prominently in the meals celebrating the festival.